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Thursday, April 19, 2007


This one is inspired by Sharon's piece on Neil Gaiman. Actually the numbers in this post brought back some memories. Having met the living legend, witnessing the queues, I can imagine Gaiman in his infinite patience signing every single book. He's known to not just sign off his books, but put in a message for his devoted readers too. If 1,250 people in Brazil is any indication, you can start doing your maths to add to his list of admirers globally.

When he was in Singapore, his sheer presence was enough to trigger literary crushes. His appearance on TV wasn't made public, but the minute word leaked out requests for: Can I get my book signed? Can I take my picture with him? Can I speak to him for one minute only started flowing in?

We'd all been told of his back to back schedule. Expectedly, the PR person responded listing out the rules of the game. Yes, he will do the signing but it will have to be capped at three books per fan. The instructions were then passed back with little hope of anyone heeding to them.

When the fans turned up the day Gaiman appeared in his distinct black, it was evident there would be no stopping at three. There were comics, books, magazines, anything and everything Gaiman had ever penned. One of them and I counted the list had 40 things in all to be signed. "How are we going to get past these?" I asked her. The solution appeared quick as the solution, pull anyone and everyone who didn't have a book to be signed to make an appearance three books in hand.

Well, it doesn't take genius to figure out what was happening. It also doesn't take genius to know who's not reading Gaiman. And he cracked that himself. "I can sign them all," he said when three of the 40 comics first appeared.

We held the door open to let the air flow in when the pronouncement was made.

He signed them all, gamely posed for pictures, chatted with everyone and best of all did the honours for my dear pal Connie by doing the long walk to the cab with her. It all got sealed with a kiss and Connie went on to write this swooning piece with a lot of 'Stardust' in her eyes. Despite trying to help herself she couldn't:

"There are too few characters, and the story is resolved too easily to pacify the hunger of a diehard fan. However, it's still a story worth savouring, to be read and enjoyed like many of the best loved fairy tales.

Am I a little partial to Gaiman? Perhaps - But he was here! And he signed my books! And he's an absolute charmer!

But then again, I may just have a little bit of stardust in my eyes."

Such is the charm of Neil Gaiman....

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